Researchers reveal that reaction to body odors determines a person’s political preference, according to a new study published on February 27, 2018.
A team of researchers from the Stockholm University conducted, conducted a study to identify the reaction to body odors of different people. They found that those who are easily disgusted by body odors were also found to be drawn towards authoritarian political leaders.
The survey they conducted depicted a strong connection between supporting a society led by a despotic leader and being sensitive to body odors such as sweat and urine. This sensitivity originates from a deep-seated instinct to avoid infectious diseases.
“There was a solid connection between how strongly someone was disgusted by smells and their desire to have a dictator-like leader who can suppress radical protest movements and ensure that different groups “stay in their places. That type of society reduces contact among different groups and, at least in theory, decreases the chance of becoming ill,” says Jonas Olofsson, an author of the study.
Disgust is a basic emotion that helps in survival. It is a common sign that people are disgusted, when they wrinkle their noses and squint their eyes, as a means of decreasing their sensory perception of the world. It is a way of protecting one’s self against danger and infections.
Researchers proposed a theory linking feelings of disgust to the desire to want an organized society. They believed that people with a strong instinct to distance themselves from unpleasant smells would also prefer a society where different groups are kept separate.
“Understanding the shared variance between basic emotional reactivity to potential pathogen cues such as body odors and ideological attitudes that can lead to aggression towards groups perceived as deviant can prompt future investigations on what are the emotional determinants of outgroup derogation. In the next future, his knowledge might inform policies to prevent ethnocentrism,” said Marco Tullio Liuzza, another author.
They asked people in the U.S. how they intended to vote for the elections, the results suggested that authoritarian political views are innate and difficult to change. Although they can change if there is contact between various groups. Thus, authoritarians can change too.